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Finding work in rural Colombia

 
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delito



Joined: 11 Mar 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:18 pm    Post subject: Finding work in rural Colombia Reply with quote

Hi guys,

I've been looking for some decent work in Medellín for a few month without much success and I've been wondering how does one go about finding work in schools in smaller cities/towns. I've met a couple of people who told me they had worked in schools in Valledupar and another city, but I never asked how they found the job. Any ideas?

I have a CELTA that I did in Bogota this year but I haven't graduated from my bachelors degree (economics). I actually came to colombia to do an exchange last year and hoped to stay and work this year with the CELTA, but it's turning out to be much harder than I'd hoped, even though I speak spanish almost fluently and have a visa that allows me to work.
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windowlicker



Joined: 05 Jun 2008
Posts: 183
Location: Bogotá, Colombia

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Finding work in rural Colombia Reply with quote

Look in the classifieds sections of newspapers and computrabajo, and meet people who are in the know.

With no bachelors degree, it's not likely you'll find work in a high school.
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delito



Joined: 11 Mar 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tips. Computrabajo is where I've been doing most of my job searching. For jobs in smaller towns would it be necessary to get local newspapers?

I know that it would be a lot better to have completed my degree, although I do find it kind of annoying that it is so important to finish that last year when I've already done 3 years with very good grades and a couple of scholarships. If the idea is to demonstrate a certain academic ability I feel like I've demonstrated that pretty well.

In hindsight I regret staying in Medellin to look for work without having my degree finished (although I can't say it's been a deciding factor in any jobs I've gone for as far as I know). I've been stressed out looking for work, doing interviews, teaching a few classes a week at very unsociable hours, and basically not having fun ever since I got my CELTA. I should have either gone home to finish my degree and then come back (very expensive when flying from Australia) or just had a holiday and some fun. Instead I've spent all my savings while being stressed out looking for work and am about to go home defeated if something doesn't come up very soon.

I thought it might be different for me because I speak spanish, was already in the city for over a year and have a visa, but no. Medellín IS as hard as they say it is!
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windowlicker



Joined: 05 Jun 2008
Posts: 183
Location: Bogotá, Colombia

PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

delito wrote:
For jobs in smaller towns would it be necessary to get local newspapers?


Any school that is going to pay a salary that makes going there worth it will advertise nationally.
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 584
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

delito wrote:
In hindsight I regret staying in Medellin to look for work without having my degree finished (although I can't say it's been a deciding factor in any jobs I've gone for as far as I know). I've been stressed out looking for work, doing interviews, teaching a few classes a week at very unsociable hours, and basically not having fun ever since I got my CELTA. I should have either gone home to finish my degree and then come back (very expensive when flying from Australia) or just had a holiday and some fun. Instead I've spent all my savings while being stressed out looking for work and am about to go home defeated if something doesn't come up very soon.

I thought it might be different for me because I speak spanish, was already in the city for over a year and have a visa, but no. Medellín IS as hard as they say it is!


My advice: Go home 'defeated.' Finish your degree, replenish your savings and maybe consider getting a masters in TESOL.

You've articulated what I always say - Colombia works a lot better as a holiday destination with savings gained in first world economies than as a place to work and settle down.

Best of luck and don't feel too discouraged. At the very least, you've learned how things work in Colombia and probably figured out a little more what you want out of life.
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littlelauren86



Joined: 20 Sep 2011
Posts: 84
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yea, I've heard that Medellín was pretty hard. But why not Bogotá?

Also, have you tried giving private classes? They've been paying off for me, which is great because they pay quite a bit more than institutes. I don't know what it's like in that city, but here I have more people asking me for lessons than I have time available (and that includes Saturday mornings). I don't party much, but I'm not like that anyway.

I currently teach only two classes with an institute, and the rest of my schedule is privates. I've only been here about three months, so it's not like I had tons of contacts or anything. Funny enough, I can't remember anyone asking for my degree/certificate either. Just the institute.

My point is that it's definitely possible to make money and at least support yourself. So, perhaps you can try changing your strategy?
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 584
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

littlelauren86 wrote:
Yea, I've heard that Medellín was pretty hard. But why not Bogotá?

Also, have you tried giving private classes? They've been paying off for me, which is great because they pay quite a bit more than institutes. I don't know what it's like in that city, but here I have more people asking me for lessons than I have time available (and that includes Saturday mornings). I don't party much, but I'm not like that anyway.

I currently teach only two classes with an institute, and the rest of my schedule is privates. I've only been here about three months, so it's not like I had tons of contacts or anything. Funny enough, I can't remember anyone asking for my degree/certificate either. Just the institute.

My point is that it's definitely possible to make money and at least support yourself. So, perhaps you can try changing your strategy?


Yep, it's definitely much easier to find work and you can charge a lot more in Bogota for privates. But, you have to be willing to live in Bogota and that's not for everybody.

I survived for a couple of months on privates alone, so I have an idea of how it works. You can make good money, but there are significant problems with relying on them for your primary income. First, you'll always need a visa, which means you'll always need to be employed with somebody. This can be difficult because since your employer provides your visa they can dictate your schedule. Secondly, private classes soon get very exhausting. You'll never be able to charge as much as you'd like and you'll be running around the city (probably on public transportation, which isn't much fun). Students come and go and a lot of them will frequently cancel. Finally, private classes don't look as good on your resume as solid experience that shows you're moving up from job to job. Certainly, with a bit of entrepreneurship spirit, a bit (more) talent/training for teaching and a lot of perseverance you can make a decent life for yourself from privates. For a while they can be good, but they serve their purpose much better if they exist to supplement a steady salary at a university position.

And that brings me to the OP. The OP hasn't finished their degree yet, and in order to get almost any kind of formal job in this field you need your undergrad as a minimum. That's why I would strongly advise going back home, finishing up the degree and maybe even getting a post-grad in ESL as well.
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ru4real



Joined: 08 Sep 2007
Posts: 11
Location: china

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colombia sucks for ESL work. The salary is all about the same or about 400-500 dollars per month. Basicly you will be just trading water. I have been to the palces spoken about here and a few that have not been spoken about... Trust me, when I say the money is not very good and sometimes the working and living conditions are awful.

I meet a British girl when I was in Valledupar that worked for BIS (British International School) She despised it. She was just there as part of her internship for her to finish her degree. Its hot, humid, crazy drivers and the other season its just flash floods.

I interviewed a school that only payed about the equivalent of about 400 USD. The school had no air-conditioning and were expected to stand most of the day. It was a private language school. Now not to mention that the Colombian government does not give out many visas for ESL teachers. I think you might have better luck elsewhere, and I have a Colombian passport!! I also was born in the states. You would think they would up the pay-scale for me a bit, but no way. I also have about 4 years of TESL experience and have been all over the world. Id never work there for 400 USD a month. However its your choice.

However if your really serious about it get a hold of me and maybe I can help you out. I have many family members that live in Valledupar and Villanueva, Bogota, and Pereria.

Good luck, and Cheers.
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windowlicker



Joined: 05 Jun 2008
Posts: 183
Location: Bogotá, Colombia

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ru4real wrote:

I meet a British girl when I was in Valledupar that worked for BIS (British International School) She despised it. She was just there as part of her internship for her to finish her degree. Its hot, humid, crazy drivers and the other season its just flash floods.


Is BIS a high school or institute? I spent about two years in Valledupar and haven't heard of it.

Valledupar and the rest of the coast are particularly tough on foreign women. Not many people last longer than a year. I liked living there, though you're right about a lot of things. I think the extent to which those things are a problem depends greatly on the individual. The job paid a lot better than what you're talking about, but it was a lot of work and in the end it wasn't enough money to get me to stay.
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shebab



Joined: 17 Sep 2003
Posts: 166

PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Colombia sucks for ESL work. The salary is all about the same or about 400-500 dollars per month. Basicly you will be just trading water. I have been to the palces spoken about here and a few that have not been spoken about... Trust me, when I say the money is not very good and sometimes the working and living conditions are awful.


Yes, it will "suck" if you show up with no working visa and no employment contract in hand. While it's no UAE, there are many decent jobs with reputable employers who pay airfare and all legal benefits. If you come to Colombia to take jobs away from qualified local esl teachers by working under the table, that's what you will get.
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